The U.S. Open Ultimate Championship competition and convention will go on as scheduled July 5-8, but the discs will be flying in a different location.
The competition, which was slated for the U.S. Air Force Academy, has been moved to Fountain Valley School as a result of the Waldo Canyon fire. A few of the social events, including the Opening Ceremony, the VIP reception, Fan Fest and Fourth of July celebration, have been canceled.
The organizer’s convention, hosted at the Antlers Hilton Hotel, will go on as planned.
“We are grateful to the Colorado Springs community, despite the great duress and hardship many of its citizens and the entire city are experiencing, for welcoming us to the city for our event,” said Tom Crawford, CEO of USA Ultimate. “Our athletes and teams are excited to be coming and hope that families will come out to watch them play and derive some joy and happiness from the experience.”
USA Ultimate, the Boulder-based national governing body for Ultimate disc, and Colorado Springs Sports Corp are hosting the inaugural international contest. The event expects to draw hundreds of the world’s best Ultimate disc athletes to play on 24 teams in three divisions – open, women’s and mixed. Until now, USA Ultimate has hosted club championship games for college, high school and youth athletes. Competitors at the U.S. Open will be those who win at the club level.
Ultimate Frisbee dates back to the 1960s when high school students came up with some rules. The game expanded to colleges and gained enough popularity where unofficial national championships were held in the mid to late 1970s. The Ultimate Players Association was formed in 1979 and in May 2010, the organization transitioned from the UPA to USA Ultimate.
Today, there are 40,000 Ultimate athletes in the U.S. and the game is played in 60 countries.
The U.S. Open includes a convention and will feature experts on topics such as leagues’ best practices, growing membership and participation, coaching education, marketing, revenue generation, high performance training, youth Ultimate and growing the sport in nations across the globe.
Ultimate disc competition is not an Olympic sport, but in 2001 Ultimate was included in the World Games for the first time as a full medal sport.
“Our sport is very entertaining and we hope kids in particular will come out to watch,” Crawford said. “Meanwhile, the thoughts and prayers of the entire Ultimate community nationwide are with the families that have lost their homes or endured the evacuation hardships and emotions, and with the amazing firefighters and emergency workers who have worked tirelessly and courageously to battle the fire and keep Colorado Springs safe.”